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TV anchors threatened by outlawed extremist group

(GDF/IFEX) - Aznor Attayev and Arina Zhilyasova, anchors of the Vesti news show aired by the Kabardino-Balkaria State TV/Radio Company, have been threatened with murder by the leader of an outlawed extremist movement.

A video clip that appeared on the radical Islamist website Jamaat Takbir on 13 February 2012 featured "Explanations from Amir Abdul-Malik" - routine calls on the public to help Islamist fighters with arms, money and moral support under the threat of reprisals. This time, however, extremists decided also to intimidate anchors of the Vesti show who, in their view, had "shown too much enthusiasm" describing special law enforcement operations aimed to track down and apprehend armed gangsters and their accomplices. Surrounded by armed thugs in face masks, Amir Abdul-Malik was shown promising the two TV hosts to "cut out" their smiles with a knife.

This marked the first ever instance of so-called "amirs" (gang leaders) openly threatening journalists in Kabardino-Balkaria. Until recently, personal threats were made only to republican administration officials, traditional Islamic clergymen, law enforcement officers, servicemen of different government organisations, and individual businessmen.

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